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“Biden never shuts up, it’s just occasionally you have to hood him like a falcon so you can get some sleep at night,” he said before adding, “There’s a joke they didn’t screen.”

Mr. Ross said not all celebrities have the same level of political power, or what he called “the gravitas factor.” He said some stars cultivated their image and that helped connect them with their chosen political parties: John Wayne and Charlton Heston on the Republican side, and Gregory Peck and George Clooney for Democrats.

Top draws

National Journal last year asked its list of political insiders in Washington who they thought the best celebrity endorsements were, and tops were media giant Oprah Winfrey for Democrats and actor Chuck Norris for Republicans.

Rounding out the Democratic top five list were Mr. Springsteen, comic Jon Stewart, singer Sheryl Crow and rapper Jay-Z.

The Republicans’ list put actor Gary Sinise second, followed by country music artist Toby Keith, Mr. Greenwood and actress Bo Derek.

Most of the celebrities on both sides are likely to attract committed voters. The real prizes are the celebrities who can bring uncommitted people into the process or convert an opponent’s supporters.

Mr. Ross said a good example was when George H.W. Bush was running for president in 2000 and was facing charges that he was a wimp. So he campaigned in California with Mr. Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger, both tough-guy actors, and the wimp talk subsided.

Sometimes the celebrities get something out of it, too.

Mr. Obama on Thursday taped an appearance with Mr. Stewart for his program, “The Daily Show,” which gave Mr. Obama an audience and Mr. Stewart a crack at the world’s most-sought-after interview.

Mr. Springsteen brings even more to the table. In 2004, he campaigned in Madison, Wis., with Sen. John F. Kerry, holding a miniconcert in the middle of the liberal college town on a beautiful fall day. An estimated 80,000 stood in the streets to hear him — and Mr. Kerry.

This year, the Boss is going solo — or at least sans Mr. Obama. He did a show in Ohio with former President Bill Clinton on Mr. Obama’s behalf on Thursday, then flew to Ames, Iowa, for another campaign rally.

But his star power may be dimming. Tickets for the Iowa rally reportedly were still available hours before it was slated to begin.

Democrats also ask their celebrities to do fundraising.

On Thursday, singer Barbra Streisand sent out a plea on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee asking for supporters to make “an emergency contribution” of $3 to top off the committee’s funds.

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